Welcome to IdeaJones.com

Articles, radio stories, ads, columns, corporate communications, novels or scripts – we’re never short of ideas. You can see some of our designs in our Redbubble shop. We also have a small shop at Etsy.com.

 

Joey Jones is the published author and editor of many newspaper and magazine articles, radio stories, advertisements and commentaries, and has ghostwritten everything from speeches to love letters. She is a past Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting semifinalist and Fade In: Screenwriting Awards quarterfinalist. She also gathers sound and conducts interviews as a freelance field producer in the Sacramento area, and her on-air performance as “The Dying Fish” can be heard in the Water Education commercial series.

Mark Jones makes a living producing radio shows (like Connections on Capital Public Radio’s Music Station). As Martin Jenkins, he’s heard weekday evenings on CapRadio’s four news stations, and Sunday mornings on 91.3FM KUOP Stockton/Modesto. Mark has also sung, acted and directed local theater and TV.

 

We’re about the story. Whether it’s the facts and figures of nonfiction, or the deeper truth of fiction, we want to find just the right words, sounds, and/or images to get it across.

We’re also about the process. “Do the work right, and on time.” Life’s too short to make things harder than they have to be.

 

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Imperium Neptuni Regis… The Shellback

Neptune and Naked Women

Imperium Neptuni Regis: The Ancient Order of the Deep

Another certificate from WWII, again from the USS General Harry Taylor (for more about that ship, see the post on The Domain of the Golden Dragon). Here, the certificate a sailor got when he became a “shellback,” a sailor who had crossed the equator. Before that, he would have been a “tadpole.”

The tradition, in addition to boosting morale, may have also indicated to other sailors that this one could handle long sea voyages. That’s something you need to know during times of war, when voyages can end up being far longer and more dangerous than expected. There can be an initiation ceremony to go with the certificate, although not always. Conditions didn’t always permit it. Some of the ceremonies described sound like the more benign college fraternity hazing rituals, with tests of strength or endurance, and a fair amount of rough-housing.

Note the women on the certificate. This being WWII, women served primarily in medical services, administration or training. They weren’t part of the ship’s regular crew. These young guys could go a long time without seeing many women, or any. So no wonder the certificate features lots of naked women. The mermaids in the upper corners you would expect to find in a certificate featuring Neptune, but unlike the Golden Dragon certificate, there are also human women swimming around naked (how are they breathing?), including two who are about to get in trouble with an octopus and a crab.

I could chalk up the representation of naked women to the era, but let’s face it, what else does a young, straight, healthy guy dream of? Well yes, food… the only thing that would make this a more complete fantasy would be if the women were naked and holding trays of steaks and baked potatoes.

The sailor who earned this (whose name has been removed for the post) was a big fan of steak and potatoes. He had his problems with women.

 

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Prepped to Go

Bowurrr! Who’s a good boy? I am! Keep your pets safe! ~ Moby the Dobish

I confess, I’m mystified by reports I keep seeing of pets tied or chained to trees or fences and left to the mercy of the weather during the recent hurricanes. What are the people responsible thinking? What scenario do they envision — that somehow the dog will ride out the storm from his safe spot anchored to a tree, battered by gale-force winds and driving rain, unable to get away?

While I do try not to be judgemental, no animal found in those conditions should ever be returned to the people responsible. No. Animal. Ever.

The heartbreak of having to flee and being unable to take your pet with you is one I can only imagine in my nightmares. There must be situations where that is true. But.  Even in that last-case scenario, tying the animal down is unbelievable cruel. Mind-numbingly heartless.

And a reminder to the rest of us before we judge — what plans have we made for our own pets? There are a lot of things that can happen besides hurricanes. Earthquakes, wildfires and other natural disasters. Man-made disasters such as gas pipe ruptures and overturned freight trains. Wherever you live, there is the outside chance that you might have to pick up stakes at least temporarily and go. What plans have you made for the pets who depend on you?

A therapist once explained to me that the worst stress she knew of was the feeling of helplessness. Doing something, however small, about a stressful situation reduced the stress. With that in mind, why not make plans for your evacuation, and your pets? Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What’s your evacuation plan? Following a suggestion, I looked up where we live and work, and what the likely evacuation routes will be for the most likely problem (here that would be flooding). I picked a rendezvous point for our family members that is likely to stay above water. Communications may be out, or jammed, during an emergency. Have a place to meet in case you’re separated.
  2. Get those kits ready. Go to a thrift store or  yard sale and find a backpack. Put basics in it like matches in a tin, a can opener, a first aid kit, and other essentials (like a couple of pairs of underwear and socks — if you have to evacuate, put them into a ziploc plastic bag). One for each family member, including pets. Backpacks are good in case you have to walk somewhere.
  3. Have an evacuation packing list in the backpack you can follow if you need to. This can remind you to include medications, etc.
  4. Have a gallon of water per person (or pet), per day, for at least 3 days on hand.
  5. Have a spare leash in your pet’s evacuation kit, and a copy of his/her microchip information, license info and health record, in a ziploc plastic bag.
  6. Do you have a crate or carrier for your pet? In an emergency, you might have to crate your pet. Some hotels will be more willing to allow a pet in an emergency IF you have a crate and old sheets to cover their furniture.
  7. Don’t wait until the last minute! If your area is under evacuation, get out while it’s still safe to do so! I have had to evacuate. It’s scary. It’s difficult. It’s also your best chance for survival. And if you leave promptly, you will have time to take your pet with you.
  8. What’s your “Survivaversary?” Pick a date and put it in your calendar. Every year, check your kits, replace things that have expired. We use the expired jugs of water to water plants in our garden. Update information and be sure your kits are good to go.

More info on preparing your evacuation kits:

ASPCA: https://www.ready.gov/animals

Ready.gov: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit

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WWII… Domain of the Golden Dragon

By virtue of the power of The Golden Dragon…

The Domain of the Golden Dragon

This is a certificate awarded during WWII (the recipient’s name has been removed for this picture). Certificates were awarded to Navy sailors who crossed the International Date Line aboard ship. The recipient of this certificate earned both this one and the Imperium Neptuni Regis (more about that in another post).

With so much activity during WWII, there probably wasn’t much of an award ceremony. There are some interesting things to note here, though…

The date is listed as “Censored,” and only the longitude is filled in. This is common for WWII paperwork. Security was a serious consideration (still is), and if the enemy knew where ships had been and were, they could guess where they were headed.

The ship given is the U.S.S. Harry Taylor. The Harry Taylor was a General G.O. Squier Class Transport, or troop carrier that was used in WWII from 1944 to 1946.  Thousands of soldiers slept in its bunks and walked its decks en route to battle or coming home. After that, it transported all sorts of people, including refugees. It made over 30 trips ferrying refugees to their new homes, then was used to track missiles. Now? It’s part of an artificial reef helping to protect marine life.

The sailor who earned this certificate? He survived WWII, although many of his friends did not. He got married, had kids, tried to work though the problems he carried with him, some of them due to his wartime experiences. Is there more to that story? Of course. But for now, he rests, under the protection of the Golden Dragon.

Here’s a link to the remembrances of a soldier transported on the Harry Taylor during WWII: https://www.guideposts.org/how-we-help/military-outreach/the-uss-general-harry-taylor-the-answer-to-a-soldiers-prayer

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‘Ello, Guv’nor!

“Guv’nor,” our donation to the PAWS fundraiser, Petitecture, inspired by the auction winner’s beloved dog.

Waiting for the address to mail this to the person who won it at auction at the Pets Are Wonderful Support fundraiser in San Francisco. It was inspired by her dog, Guv’nor (who is, from the photo, adorable). PAWS is a great organization, helping people who are chronically ill keep their beloved pets. From their website:

“PAWS believes that the healing impact of the human-animal bond is one of the best supports available for medically vulnerable individuals, and mounting evidence indicates that this bond can yield valuable health outcomes. For many people, having a companion animal is part of living a happy and fulfilling life. For some individuals, especially those who are chronically ill, frail, and isolated by disease or age, having a companion animal can be central to their health and well-being. Animal companionship becomes even more important when our human contacts diminish because of aging or illness.”

I don’t make a lot of jewelry now (if you don’t count the 1,000+-and-counting Love Bead Safe Harbor Pins we have given away this year). Writing takes up most of my time, and artwork that I create for Redbubble.com and other online businesses. But we’ve been supporting PAWS for years now, and the mission is one we really believe in. Once, I stopped in to drop off jewelry for an event. Ahead of me was an elderly couple with their dog. As I waited, I heard them explain that they were checking in because their dog needed to see the vet. As they checked in, they told the receptionist how important the dog was to both of them. “He gives us a reason to get up in the morning,” the wife said. They expressed how grateful they were for PAWS, who helped with food and vet care they couldn’t afford.

I was so glad to be a small part of what they do. PAWS is now partnered with another organization, Shanti Project, still helping those who are ill keep the pets who give them comfort and support, and keeping those pets out of shelters.

If you’d like more information about PAWS, you can find it here: http://www.shanti.org/pages/paws_about_us.html

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In Praise of Rock Star Parents

We went to see “Newsies,” (a Broadway musical) in a movie theater (yay, Fathom Events, bringing such things to movie theaters across America), then “Despicable Me 3.” Guess which audience deserved a standing ovation?

The Newsies screening was lightly attended. We got there early as I’d been looking forward to it, got great seats and settled in to enjoy. One group settled behind us and began a symphony played on cellophane wrappers and purse zippers. Not just “zip,” or even “zip, zip,” but “zip-crinkle-zip-zip-crinkle-zip-zip-zip!” At the last minute, in walks a group of teenaged girls. Loud teenaged girls. I was a teenaged girl. I remember what it’s like, out with your friends, having fun. But these girls were talking (loudly) about theater. Auditions they had gone to/were going to. They talked (loudly) even during the special added moments, like members of the cast of Newsies singing new interpretations of songs. The sorts of things real theater people enjoy. Which we couldn’t hear. Because of them.

Real artists respect the craft. Music, acting, painting, whatever it is, it’s hard work  if you do it right, and you respect other artists and respect an audience. They have their part to play, buying tickets, paying attention, being present for whatever it is. They paid to see/hear/experience something and a pro respects that and doesn’t get in the way of it. As a friend once told someone in my presence, “Nobody here paid to see you, so sit down.”

Then we went to see “Despicable Me 3.” An audience of parents and little kids.  These kids, who weren’t together, by the way, behaved like champs. Sure, they talked a bit, quietly. If they kept talking, parents quietly told them to keep it down so people could hear. They reacted to the movie, laughing, etc. But they didn’t talk loudly, or run around, or otherwise ruin the experience for the people around them. They were great. When the movie ended, I told Mark I wished I could stand at the door to the theater and thank every parent there. “There’s some rock star parenting going on in this theater,” I said.

Now, I didn’t say it for effect. It was just a comment to Mark. “There are kids here behaving better than the adults in the other theater.” I saw a dad sitting ahead of us nudge his wife. Mark told me later the man’s wife was beaming. She should be. They are raising considerate kids who know how to be with other people, enjoying and participating, without selfishly getting in the way of what’s going on around them.

Thank you, rock star parents who are taking care of business in the most classy way possible. The rest of us who share this planet with your kids owe you our gratitude.

And to those girls, just know that nobody was impressed by your discussion of what songs you plan to sing for your auditions. You were just the jerks who disrupted the movie for the rest of us.

 

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